Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Getting Robbed in Italy (

one_searcher Dec 27th, 2012 01:48 PM

Getting Robbed in Italy
In Italy they have perfected steeling from tourist to a fine art.
It is not IF you will be robbed but how soon after you get there it will happen.
We went with a group of 15 couples. My wife had her purse snatch out of our car as we were driving, one man had his wallet stolen another couple the lady had her purse taken right off her shoulder bus a person on a motor scooter.. So 15 couples and three were robbed.

You only need to go online and type in "robbed in italy" to see the dozens of web site with comments from people who went there and were robbed..

We reported our incident to the Police - That was a complete waste of time. the majority of police do not speak English and most of them do not really care about helping you..

There are many other nicer places to visit where you will be safer..

StCirq Dec 27th, 2012 01:58 PM

That's remarkable. I've been to Italy at least a dozen times and have never had a single thing stolen. My SO's son lived in Italy for 6 months last year and never had a single incident.

Do the police where you live speak Italian? I didn't think so.

Crime happens everywhere, most often to people who aren't aware of their surroundings and who aren't protecting their valuables properly.

ekc Dec 27th, 2012 02:04 PM

So you were with a group of tourists and 10% of you were pickpocketed or purse-snatched (3 out of 30). I'll bet the odds are the same, if not worse, in any major city in the world. One of the reasons I use a cross-body purse almost anywhere I go is to avoid losing my purse to someone walking or riding by.

Of course the police don't speak English - you were in Italy. As with any major city in the world, the police have much more serious crime to deal with.

bardo1 Dec 27th, 2012 02:07 PM

First and only post, hmmm....

I Googled "Robbed in US" and got over 86 million hits then Googled "Robbed in Italy" and got around 5 million hits.

Does that mean one is 17 times more likely to be robbed in the US as opposed to Italy?

nytraveler Dec 27th, 2012 02:12 PM

A couple of notes:

1) Why should police in Italy speak English? Police in the US don;t speak Italian.

2) I have been to Italy 17 times - as close as I can count - and have never had anything stolen there. Nor have any of my companions.

However, like any country with a large number of tourists - if you spend time in airports, train stations, and other tourist venues - and don't watch your belongings like a hawk every second - yes, someone may steal something. This is true everywhere in the world - and frankly a problem of tourists not being careful with their valuables.

Caveat: I'm a native New Yorker and was taught from the time I was a small child to always take care of my belongings - since there are thieves everywhere.

one_searcher Dec 27th, 2012 02:14 PM

As we walked around Italy and visited the castles and museums and tourist attractions there were informational "placks' all around.. most of the time one was written in Italian which of course you expect and then next to it would be another written in English. So if the museums and tourist attractions have these informational placks / guides in English would you think that English was a prominent language enough so that maybe the police would speak it.

one_searcher Dec 27th, 2012 02:18 PM

You ask DID WE WATCH OUR BELONGINGS?? We were driving in our rental can and had just gotten in and went about 1 block when a motor scooter person pulled up beside us and pried open the door and reached in and took my wife's purse.. It happened so fast we did not realize what was happening..

goldenautumn Dec 27th, 2012 02:19 PM

Oh dear,

another post that draws out all the "Fodorites" to talk about themselves and how wonderful they and smart and gosh-darn perfect they are!!!

What a surprise.

It is not at all unusual for people to make their first post on a public message board a bad experience of being robbed. (You'd think Fodor's zillion-post "experts" would see that by now, but when do they ever notice anything fresh? Their minds are so cluttered with their past.)

People traveling in large tourist groups in Rome and Naples in particular need to be extra vigilant about becoming the target of thieves, but it can happens in lots of cruise ship destinations.

Blame the messenger for bursting your bubble about Italy -- and yes, it can happen in other countries -- but ratcheting back the circle-the-wagons-against-disturbing-our-fodorite-daydream would be interesting for a change.

goldenautumn Dec 27th, 2012 02:23 PM

one searcher,

Thanks for posting. It will remind others to be careful and not take anything for granted. It's unfortunate you had a bad experience in Italy. Some parts are more thief-prone than others, but tourists can be targets anywhere, especially in large groups.

Best to keep anything tempting well out of sight.

Gary_Mc Dec 27th, 2012 02:25 PM

I had a car broken into in Italy. My wife, as a student, had some jewelry stolen at a friend's house in Italy. A military family we knew, had their Italian apartment ransacked. It can happen.

Still, Italy was my second most favorite destination to visit in Europe. The people bent over backwards to be helpful and friendly. Towns like Lucca, San Gimignano, and Florence gave us some of our favorite memories of anywhere in Europe. Amalfi might have been the most beautiful place that I have ever visited.

Screw the odds, take the chance and visit Italy.

Regards, Gary

Graziella5b Dec 27th, 2012 02:35 PM

It happens all over, I have been many times in Italy and never robbed, but once in the hotel in Firenze, the thieves are probably a mixture of many nationalities since globalization, EU etc. Most likely those thieves are present where more tourists are around, mind you they can also rob locals too.
This is the new world we live in, a political correct world , just saying this because I am not supposed to say there might be more thieves from some group or other.
I think from personal experiences that most Italians probably are very honest and nice people, once we found a wallet in the Roman Forum behind some rocks full of documents, no money of course we phoned the owner , an old Italian lady and her greatest concern was that we might think Romans were thieves....I guess we all must be very alert at all times all over.

lowcountrycarol Dec 27th, 2012 02:40 PM

I think the Italians are being thoughtful to include English explanations on plaques at tourist sites for those who would like to know what they are looking at. That does not necessarily mean the police, shopkeepers, or workers in Italy will speak English to accommodate the English speaking tourist. As pointed out, in the US our police are not usually able to communicate in other languages ....with the possible exception of Spanish.

When one travels it is necessary and important to always be on guard of ones possessions and never assume that English will be spoken everywhere. You might prefer to travel next in Great Britain to remove at least that issue.

bendigo Dec 27th, 2012 03:19 PM

An unfortunate situation for you.

Usually the only real purpose in reporting such thefts is that a police report is required for making a claim on travel insurance. I have known of a few travellers who have suffered thefts in Italy - usually after being distracted or just generally being inattentive (very easy in those places where one just wants to look around and say WOW!). In each case they were able to make police reports, but it often was not a quick process.

On our recent trip we were very aware of theft and cons from reading various sources about "dangers" in Italy and France.
We did not suffer any losses, but were vigilant - travelling as a family group meant that we had enough people to watch bags, etc when getting organised in stations and other places.
However we were also alert to possible scams, and it actually became quite fun watching the old women in Paris who would bend down and pick up the big, gold ring that my wife or numerous other women must have just dropped - we even managed to "rescue" one tourist who looked like she was about to fall for it.

As a couple of side notes, the only time (so far - touch wood) that I have had something taken when travelling was from a locked car in broad daylight in the middle of a busy shopping street in Port Moresby (PNG). When we reported this at the police station it seemed like the local commander was yelling at his staff to try to get them to go out on the street and do some police work.

Also, even when at home, I have ALWAYS travelled with doors of my car locked if there was not a passenger in that seat. With my new car, all doors, including driver's, lock automatically when I get to a speed of about 10 kmh - so this is something that car manufacturers obviously see as important in one of the safest countries in the world (Australia).

I hope your insurance covers your losses, and that these experiences don't discourage future travel, but pehaps make you a little more street and world-wise.

charnees Dec 27th, 2012 04:28 PM

I am sorry you had things stolen. But it can happen anywhere, especially to tourists. I have been to Italy about 15 times, or so, and have never had a problem.

golden autumn is the Italy Forum's scold, who specializes in putting down everyone else who posts here, but on a different occasion may totally contradict herself, so we don't listen to her.

Overall, I feel more safe in Italy than I do at home in the United States.

starrs Dec 27th, 2012 04:42 PM

"another post that draws out all the "Fodorites" to talk about themselves and how wonderful they and smart and gosh-darn perfect they are!!!"

Whoa! What a post from a brand new poster as of December 2012.

Toxic much?

RobertaL Dec 27th, 2012 05:32 PM

"There are nicer places to visit where you will be safer..."

You never even mentioned where you were in Italy. I've been to Naples many times and somehow kept managing to squeak out alive. But this detail is irrelevant since you're referring to the entire country...

Advice like this always makes me laugh. Don't go to Italy. Don't go to France. Ok, stay home.

adrienne Dec 27th, 2012 05:54 PM

<< Whoa! What a post from a brand new poster as of December 2012. >>

This is an old poster under a new name. Taking the contrary view, as usual.

StCirq Dec 27th, 2012 06:28 PM

<<Taking the contrary view, as usual.>>

Not so much the contrary view as using the post as a vehicle to play "hall monitor" and berate Fodors posters as ignorant and uninformed and "living in the past," whatever that means.

She's just a pestilence. Has some interesting, though not always useful, information about Italy, but as her posts are inevitably vehicles for derision about anyone else's experience, pretty useless at the end of the day. And yes, it's about screen name number 10 or so at this point. You'd think, since she's been banned from this and other sites for being the obnoxious twit she is, and because hardly anyone listens to her, you'd think she'd just stop posting here. But no...some deep-seated desire to be superior to others seems to motivate her.

You have to love the way she sneeringly derides advice from many of us, then turns around and offers the same advice. It's a good thing Italy has great mental health care.

danon Dec 27th, 2012 06:41 PM

"So if the museums and tourist attractions have these informational placks / guides in English would you think that English was a prominent language enough so that maybe the police would speak it."

Travel much?

cigalechanta Dec 27th, 2012 06:48 PM

People on tours are usually not travel savvy and usually become victims, thinking they are safe because in a group.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:24 PM.